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Album Review

Australian trio the Devastations debut with Coal, an album steeped in the outback-gothic vibe perfected by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds. A similar set of influences is at play in the Devastations sound: the Gun Club, Bryan Ferry, Lee Hazelwood. (On a more recent tip, American Music Club and Elliott Smith are also worth mentioning, especially in lead singer Conrad Standish's strained croon; "The Night I Couldn't Stop Crying" is a particularly Mark Eitzel-like performance.) Although plainly derivative of their shared influences, the Devastations do make each song their own, through unexpected touches like the playful rhythm box samba beat that animates the opening "Sex and Mayhem" and the Western twang-guitar shuffle of "Take You Home." That said, an entire album's worth of little other than low-register vocals, minor-key tunes and self-consciously minimalist arrangements does get a bit draggy by the final third.


Formed: 2002 in Melbourne, Australia

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Just as sinister as Nick Cave and equally heartbreaking as Tindersticks, Devastations feature Conrad Standish (vocals/bass), Tom Carlyon (guitar/vocals), and Hugo Cran (drums). The stylish alternative rock trio came together in late 2002 in Melbourne, Australia; however, a move to Berlin in 2003 provided Devastations the chance to introduce themselves to a European audience. Performances for Alexander Hacke's (Einsturzende Neubauten) Bada Bing concert series followed, preceding the release of the...
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Coal, Devastations
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